The Most Exciting Life EVER!!!

What I did Today:



  • Slept in until almost 9am.
  • Walked/jogged on the treadmill while watching a bad David Schwimmer movie (aren't they all) and doing a samurai sudoku puzzle.
  • Did four loads of laundry (well, the last one isn't folded and put away yet).
  • Ate Panda Express (and ingested at least twice as many calories as I had burned off this morning).
  • Commented on 15 blog posts by random bloggers. I read at least 30 different blogs. Added four new ones to my rss feed.
  • Marveled at having a clean bathroom and how impressed I am with my son scrubbing the shower (his newest chore).
  • Went grocery shopping and questioned spending $150 on food for two people that will probably only last 9 days or so.
  • Laughed my ass off at Neil Degrasse Tyson on The Daily Show, who wrote a book about Pluto.
  • Shopped a little on Amazon -looking for the perfect splurge for a gift card I have there.
  • Made chicken enchiladas for the second time EVER. They are my newest favorite food to make at home. They weren't as perfect as the first time, I'm not sure what happened this time. A fluke I'm sure.
  • Discussed with my son for the 4,975th time why it's important that his room be picked up and how my expectations for his room are fairly low and are NOT hard to meet. I just want to vacuum in there--is that so hard?? Oh, and put your clothes away-always. And dirty clothes go in the basket. EASY.
  • Lamented on the fact that the first month of 2009 is over. SAD!! 2009??? OVER????
  • Tortured the cats by placing a sticky label on the floor near them and watching as they shake their label-encrusted paw at mach speeds. Sorry, but THAT is some seriously funny free entertainment.
  • Watched Uncle Buck - I do miss John Candy. He was a funny actor!
  • Set my dvr to record 12 upcoming movies in the next week. Gotta have some background movies for when I'm working at home.

I really need to slow down...this life in the fast lane is a bit much. I don't know how long I can continue this type of lifestyle.

Just Some Bad Fashion Moves, said the snob behind the blog

I have nothing to say. Nothing at all.

These photos leave me slightly speechless. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NO fashionista-not by ANY means. I am happiest in a pair of jeans and my Danskos (much to some of my coworkers dismay).

However, I feel that if I was a celebrity, making approximately $290,000/an hour and if I knew that I would most likely be photographed at any minute, AND most especially if I was going to an event where I would be required to walk down a special carpet with a row of photographers standing by to take numerous photos of me while I stand and turn to each side and smile at them --- I might have a friend (or seven) on hand to help me decide about questionable clothing. Or I might just ask my doorman on my way out.



These are some that even a non-fashionista can recognize as bad ideas...



And in no way am I being snobby about clothing. I think people should be original and show their personality in their clothing, but um, it shouldn't be painful for the public at large to look your way. AND keep in mind that their actual job is being a celebrity-whether they enjoy it or not---so make us like to look at you, please, seriously---PUHLEASE.









This is Katy Perry. She kissed a girl and she liked it. She is a singer. She is wearing a spandex onesie and carrying a small children's purse. She is new to the celebrity lifestyle so she is somewhat excused from knowing what is appropriate for photos, but is she new to clothing in general? This is something you wear to the beach. In the 1960's (minus the push up add ins that are a bit much).

She is quite pretty - I think she would look great with more clothes on. Or just different ones. Or better ones.





Paula....sigh...Paula Abdul is mystical. I'm pretty certain she has some kind of addiction she is battling. These are photos from across the last decade - nothing seems to have changed. She has a very um, unique sense of fashion. She is the girl who never has to worry about showing up at a party wearing the same thing as someone else - cause no one else would wear these things. (to be fair - hookers might wear the top middle photo. And pixies or fairies might wear the bottom right dress).















Gwyneth Paltrow....trying to look as much like a grandmother as possible? I don't hate this dress, I just don't think that it's a good match for her. She looks so pale....and old....and matronly...and pale.
















The token male in the group. Justin Timberlake. I like him, I genuinely do. Except in this photo. I just don't even know what he was thinking. He must have seen this on a hanger and actually nodded that Yes, I do want to wear that. So it was a conscious decision...and I just don't get that.















Heidi Klum - I think she's a supermodel? (whatever that means)




This is a fun outfit as it totally reminds me of the late 80's. The crop shirt with stripes and all the colors mixed together and the acid-washed skin-tight jeans that are a tad too short (but to be fair, I think she is about 8 feet tall)....the whole package is a wonder.
I wish she was wearing leg warmers - like in a sparkly pink color. It would really complete this outfit.








Ashley Judd is just simply a beauty. She can be makeup free and in a turtleneck and running shorts, wearing house slippers-and she would be pretty. However, she put on this little number and I was considering whether she shouldn't have NOT gone with her gut in buying it.




















**OH - and I'm edging up on my 350th post and I think that is special. I'm turning 35 soon and I'm hitting my 350th post soon. That's like magic or something, right?

SO----for my 350th post I'm hosting my very first giveaway. It's going to be WONDERFUL. You'll want to be around for it. Stay tuned.....

Good News for the Economy!!!

Every morning I wake up and turn on the news and hear the same type of story:
{insert company name} has announced it will be cutting {insert ridiculously high number, at least 4 figures, typically 5} jobs.

But this morning---GOOD NEWS!!!!!!! Someone is making money and NOT cutting jobs---WONDERFUL news!!!!!!!!
The company actually broke it's own record of earnings for a year. AWESOME!!


Congratulations Exxon Mobil for a profit record year of $45.2 billion for 2008!!!

They worked hard (at killing our pocket books) and were dedicated (to drilling wherever they wanted, polar bears be damned or not). They are an inspiration for all companies everywhere (to do better things in the world to offset damage by Exxon).

Rock It, Sylvester Stallone

Um, this is a 62 yr old man?? How is this possible??




SIXTY-TWO!!!!!!!
This man is bionic. Really, he is not human!!

Song Lyrics of the Week

If you want to make it hard on me, just be everything to everyone.
- Andrew Paul Woodworth

I wrote this down one night while listening to the radio and I had it on this scratch piece of paper for a long time...I really liked it, in a sad, melancholy kinda way.

I always keep a pad of paper (or two) and a pen (or seven) by my bedside so if I hear something on the news, or an NPR story, I can remember to look it up or share it with my friends (blogger or real life) later.

So this paper has been in the drawer of my nightstand, been used as a bookmark, been put in a pile of papers to sort through, put on my dresser, reused as a bookmark, used as a coaster, and back in a new pile of papers - where I found it tonight. I think it's from an interview with him on NPR back in January 2008. A YEAR ago!! I kept this piece of paper THAT long so I could remember this one phrase??

I don't know that I ever even heard the full song, but this one line stuck out enough that I wrote it down. After searching for it, I found it linked to his song and here are the rest of the lyrics (translated on a Turkish site, so excuse a little broken english):


I'm uncomfortable getting massages.
I don't like to be stuck in a crowd.
But I would like to ride bicycles trough your marathon.
I don't want to be alone at a party.
I don't want to be the knock on a door.
I'd like to hypnotize you to be unhypnotizable and stand beside your wall.
And if you want to make it hard on me just be everything to everyone.
I know you're wondering who you are darling.
I know we can be whatever we want.I see you fumbling your keys darling.
Let me take the the power out of those things.
You're safe with me.
So I find myself asking you questions like "What's the life expectancy of a spy?"
You can find your savor in the Oregon marching band,or when buying land.
What if we shut it off?
And if you want to make it hard on me just be everything to everyone.
I know you're following your heart darling.
I know we can do whatever we want.
I see you twitching in your seat darling.
Let me put the power back in your dreams.
You're safe with me.


I can't find a video of Andrew Paul Woodworth singing it, but I did stumble upon this THIS video, which is the best cover song EVER!!! Seriously---you have NEVER heard the Beastie Boys song sound so good..check it out!! (if you don't know of the Beastie Boys-you might not catch the wonderment of this song...but just know that 96% of the Beastie Boys songs are loudloudloud-even when played at a low volume-which doesn't happen for the Beastie Boys-they are always LOUD).

It's funny cause the song lyrics for this song include: "my mom threw away my best porno mag" - but he sings it so softly and sweetly, you feel bad for him...




Random Thoughts on a Lazy Sunday


  • I watched the Rock of Love bus show on VH1. This is the second season of the dating show where Bret Michaels, lead singer of the 80's rock band Poison, looks to find his true love, his future wife. The girls featured on the show all have drinking problems, all look like a barbie doll-if Mattell made a stripper barbie. The new show has given up all pretense of being a dating show-it would be more aptly named: Bret Michaels Makes Out with Skanky Women.

  • Bret Michaels is just nasty. I didn't realize he had hair extensions, I really believed he had great hair all this time.

  • I love the song November Rain (which is not by Bret's band, but by a different 80's long-haired band). The video was great-it was like a 9-minute video. I miss the old days when you couldn't wait to see the latest video by your favorite band. My son and friends usually only watch videos on youtube that make them laugh. They listen to music while playing video games.

  • I like working from home-but I skipped lunch on Friday and didn't even notice until about two p.m.---that wouldn't have happened in the office because I would have noticed everyone else leaving or eating.

  • Brad Pitt in the movie Seven (I think the title is really Se7en) has the best line ever when he cries out "What's in the box????" My son and I make fun of this as much as possible. Any time we have a box to open, one of us cries it out, all whiny Brad Pitt style. Totally a spoiler-don't watch the clip if you haven't seen the movie. And there's some definite swearing going on....if you worry about that kind of thing.






  • Frangos (mint flavored) from the Bon Marche (now Macy's) - are the best snack ever. They are this yummy mint chocolaty thing that I like to just dissolve in my mouth. If you've ever had a Mint Meltaway from school fundraisers, this is pretty much the same thing, but a little bigger (just as expensive though).

  • Sometimes I really want a more minimalist lifestyle, but sometimes I really just want a new couch and a flat-screen television. Nothing too big-under 32 inches. I just like the look of it hanging on the wall and being so out-of-the-way and unimposing, as if you are saying, the tv is not really that important to me. But the price screams out-this is very important to me.

  • I sometimes call my son Frank, short for Frankenstein because sometimes he just doesn't behave as if all his wires are crossed correctly. He does or says things that just don't make any sense.
  • I am going to be 35 in less than a month. I might be halfway-through my life. This makes me extremely sad. This means I'm almost due for a mid-life crisis? Already??? Ugh.

Time For a Change!!


I am so excited about this new President we welcomed in earlier this week. Not just because of the wondrous and amazing history of how our country just fairly recently did not treat blacks as if they were not equal as humans-which is absurd-why did anyone ever believe that humans aren't equal based on the color of their skin?? (we have a disgusting history in this way) - and not just because this inauguration came the day after we have a federal holiday devoted to the most prominent civil rights advocate of all time....but it's just the swell of energy and HOPE that surrounds our new government.

It still doesn't feel real, and someone actually said to me in amazement earlier this week: "can you believe Bush is no longer our president???" We are all in disbelief and wonderment...and HOPE.

Sometimes a little HOPE will go a long, long way. It inspires. It encourages. It is an open doorway to success. It is the helping hand that you might need to have courage. It is ALIVE and in our country NOW---FINALLY. After eight years, well, to be fair, maybe just five years of people living in fear of what is happening around us. And most especially in the last two years, as those of us who were on top of things noticed that things were going downhill fast. It's like a bad dream is over-we have woken up. We have found some HOPE. We have a new president. He happens to be black, which is wondrous in itself, but more than that, he is inspiring HOPE amongst a broken nation.


The Debbie-Downers are not so hopeful and insist that he can not be as great as we want to believe he is...but that's the first step isn't it? Just having something to believe in?? I believe our nation is headed into a recession, which is scary...but I believe that we have someone smart and intuitive and honest and kind-hearted at the head of our country and that makes the impending recession much less scary than it was just 6 months ago. We have watched our economy slowly decline further and further. We have watched our government go against the foundation of Separation of Church and State when making laws. We have watched one of the Good Ole Boys have his turn at being the leader. Yes-we KNOW that President Obama will not wave a magic wand and make it all better in a short amount of time. It's not possible....because the last President and the government that supported him had a very long-lasting effect on our country and it will take a LONG time to climb out of that. But we have HOPE now.

And now it's time for That One. It's time for one of us. It's time for HOPE and belief and inspiration and a new way to look at things.

It is time for us to come together and do what is right.

And I welcome our new President with open arms and a realistic mind and a happy heart.

Embrace Your New Office!!

My new office...is my couch.

Our office is in the midst of a remodel and though we do have temporary space to work in the building, unfortunately, it is in a locale that is very much like a call center. It's just a big room with desk spaces set up. And so when you sit down, you will potentially be three feet directly across from someone else. Face to face. I would most definitely want to work in this type of atmosphere. I have enough trouble adjusting to the life in a cubicle.



And speaking of cubicles, after the remodel it won't really be too much better....our cubicle walls are going to be much lower. If we do a half-stand, we can see across the entire room. This will be great for bringing in the natural light from the windows all around the building. It will not be great from a privacy standpoint. I suspect it will take some getting used to. I feel like I'm still adjusting to the dilbert style cubicleland, but it was kind of nice to have that before moving into the new lower-walled ones. It's like baby steps. Take me from an office (shared, but a large office) and then step down into a "normal" cubicle, and then step down again into almost a loft-type atmosphere with very little separation from everyone around you. I don't think it will be horrible--just a little adjustment to get used to. Luckily, I like the people I work with so it's not so bad being close to them. And almost everyone works from home one day a week anyway so you only really have four days you have to put up with them if you don't like them!



The remodel is adding in a lot of conference room space, which is really important and much-needed. It also gives us a large break area, complete with a couple flat screens and a pool table. We still have the free soda, but now it will be in an actual soda machine. For some reason, pushing the button and selecting a soda and hearing the sound of it roll down and make the clanking noise as if yelling out to me: READY TO DRINK!! makes the soda experience a little better. I don't know why. I just like that sound.



But for now----my office is my couch. The background noise is alternating between the news, a movie, or the digital music channels. And I get the luxury of getting up and not rushing about---what to wear (I don't like 70% of my current big-sized wardrobe), fixing my hair, putting on makeup, getting out of the house by a certain time. Instead....I can wake up and hang out with the kid a few and then have a FULL hour before I have to even think about turning on my laptop (though in reality, I turn it on about ten minutes after the kid leaves, about 80 minutes before I'm scheduled to work). I'll be going into the office and the call-center space about 2-3X a week, the other days I plan to wake up with the kid, make him breakfast, get on the treadmill and then shower and not turning the laptop on until my designated time. And my new officemates are two furry-friends who ignore me for most of the day and are very quiet and low-key.


I've been working late a few nights each week for the last three weeks...I love my job, but working until midnight (or later a couple nights!) and then getting back online to work at 8am is a bit tiring. The long hours should go down after next month...it's just a busy time.


And I thought I had allergies...but then I woke up this morning with a very bright pink eye and a horrible headache...hmmm....perhaps my day today will include a break so I can run to the doctor to get some medicine.

Book Review of the Week: The Year of Fog


This book kept me up late last night...it's an easy read in the easy way that it is well-written and you don't want to put it down. It's not an easy read in that it's about a small child being kidnapped. That's not a spoiler --- it's the theme of the book.

The whole book.

As a parent, it's hard not to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the child's family...who hasn't lost their child for a minute or two in the mall or at the park? You turn around and that little squiggly monster has run off and hidden or just thought it would be funny to hide under the clothing rack....but it's not funny and it's not fun. It's terrifying.

I think every child does the game where they crawl amongst the clothing rounders in a store and call out "come and find me." It's a fun game for them-not for you. Public areas are not a stage for a game of Hide and Seek. You just never know...you never know when you're going to turn around and your child will be gone. You never know when you might turn around for just a minute--just ONE minute----and by the time you turn back, your child is no longer standing there. It's the most horrifying moment ever.

This book was good-it explores the feelings and thoughts and the scenarios of what goes on to a family who really does lose their child. I would definitely recommend it because it's a good book, well-written, great plot, good characters, good timing... I felt a connection with all the main characters. I like where the author took them, I liked how she wove them in and out of different possibilities.

But I somewhat held my breath the whole book, waiting and hoping and wishing the little girl would be found.

Something I think about with regard to a tragedy is how it affects people on the sidelines. The observers of a fatal accident, the family of a murder victim-or the family of the murderer. What is the story behind the story? I don't need to read the main story, I like to hear the story that no one remembers or thinks about. Sometimes those are sadder than the obvious sadness.

The Year of Fog touched a bit on this, not as much as I would have liked, but a touch of it. It was interesting. A great book for someone without kids.

Just Mention the V Word!

I try to save money any way I can. I'm not one to just throw my money away on particular things....not to say that I don't throw my money away (I do love to eat out), but sometimes, it's easy to cut some corners and save big money. Like using the library instead of buying books-a change I made a few yrs ago that has saved me space in my house AND put space in my bank account!

Cable tv is nice to have, but can be pricey. BUT there is a way to save...
Just ask!!!

Call and ask for a discount.
Seriously--it is THAT simple.

Comcast Cable Company is an easy company to work with one particular way: They want to keep their customers and are willing to give the best rate.

Don't agree?
Have you ever tried asking? Cause that's all it takes.

Every eight months (or thereabouts), I call Comcast and ask to be put on a special plan. They have never ever ever EVER once denied me this request. I get put on a discounted rate for the next six months, sometimes saving just $15-20, but sometimes saving $30-50. I'm not kidding!! Saving $50 for NO reason other than asking??? Why would you pass that up??
I say every eight months because they aren't supposed to put you on back-to-back specials and most of the deals I get last six months.

Recently I have been considering switching to Verizon. They give more channels for the money, however they do require a yearly contract for their services. If I made the switch to Verizon, I would get more channels and pay just about $5 more, but supposedly their internet service is faster.

I called Comcast and did my normal routine of asking for a special...and the snotty girl on the line acted like I was asking for her first-born. She said that they don't have any specials right now so there's nothing she can do. Did I mention she was rude? She was. She was!!! I am very nice when I start my dealings with customer service almost 92% of the time and I definitely was this time so she had NO reason for being rude. But she was. And so I sighed...and then told her, well, that's interesting because I've never been told this before. For the last 5 years, Comcast has ALWAYS had some kind of special that has saved me a little bit off my bill...and she said, still snotty---"well, I don't think that it's normal that you would always find a special going on. Maybe you were just calling at the right times, but I can not give you one."
Hmmm...okay....

Me: I guess I will have to consider other options then. Verizon is offering faster service and more channels for just below the price I am paying Comcast right now....
Snotty Girl: Please hold.

And within 2 minutes, I had a wonderfully kind young man on the phone who was offering me 6 months of cheaper service: $19 off my internet service and $12 off my cable, and he waived my modem fee for a year (which is a silly $3 a month) AND he gave me the 5 starz channels for three months.

Interesting that the specials suddenly appeared out of nowhere...

Perfect-deal! Sign me up! Thanks wonderfully kind young man! You're wonderful.

So two days later, I'm off to set up my Tivo to record my new 5 starz channels as much as possible for the next three months...and discover that with my older Tivo-I'm not able to. (insert sad face)

I called Comcast back and they told me to call Tivo.

I called Tivo, which is NOT a pleasant experience---22 minutes on hold total. To be told that I need to call Comcast for help in hooking up the Tivo box to the cable modem.

I call Comcast back and go to their tech support and get connected to a mean old man who tells me that I have to call Tivo and tells me that in no certain terms would their technician have set up my cable connection incorrectly.

sigh.

I call Tivo again, and sit on hold again but only for 16 minutes this time, and they tell me that I need to call Philips, which is the Tivo brand I have.

I call Philips, and get a phone tree that has a continuous loop back to it's original tree menu, no matter which choices I select along the way.

I call Tivo back---score!! only a seven minute wait this time!! I ask them if there's ANY advice they can give and if they have ANY idea on why this is not working for my Tivo to talk to my Comcast modem and they tell me that it is not a Tivo issue.

sigh.

So I call Comcast back and tell them that I watch live television about 10% of my tv watching time EVER. And not having the ability to use my Tivo to record my free 5 starz channels is discounting the fact that I even have them. And the discount is great and all....but I would rather pay a little extra and be able to watch my shows when I want, and more importantly-fast forward through the commercials, which I find intolerable.

AND I have just learned that Verizon will give me a DVR at no charge for six months!!! FREE!!! I really really love my Tivo---but I really want to have full access to my cable and I REALLY want to never to have to call the Tivo customer service line again. And Verizon DVR is only $8.95 a month---Tivo is $12.95.

So I tell my Comcast friend this and she apologizes for my frustrations and puts me on hold for three minutes and tells me that she has reserved a DVR for me at the local office (or they could come install it but it would be a week) and that she has waived the fee for six months and each month thereafter is only $8.95.

WONDERFUL!!! I drove to the local Comcast store, picked up my DVR and had it hooked up and working within one hour. It would have been much less, if the cables behind the entertainment center didn't look like this:
The wires and cords were so wrapped around each other and in such a mess-it was hard to believe that they were set up that way by the infallible, never-incorrect Comcast technician. I have fixed them so they look MUCH better-it might be my new side job: Comcast Cable Company Cord Coordinator.

Vacuums, Tivos and Messengers, Oh My!

Electronic Devises hate me today.


My vacuum has issues...I just can not get it to work. The roller thing was working but the handle/wand/brush thing was not. I have to clear out the roller thing after EVERY use. As soon as there is 3/4 inch in the bag less spin cycle see-through container-things stop spinning and the suction function-ability goes WAY down. So I disassembled it, cleared it all out, pulled out the plastic fork and 8 lbs of cat hair that was clogging the wand, and then reassembled it. It was like a brand new vacuum....but with some spare parts. I don't remember it having extra screws when I started disassembling it, but I have some now, which will be great if the others get loose an fall out or something. Wonderful. Anyway, the tube wand brush thing works GREAT now...but the roller is no longer working.
Tivo apparently hates comcast. I can not get my tivo to talk to my comcast box. I've looked it up online and played with it myself and asked friends and can not make this friendship work. So I called Tivo. This is how that goes:
Listen to obnoxious hold music and stupid phone tree.
Make selection, repeat above step.
Repeat above step three times.
My solution to this issue: discontinue my beloved Tivo service (Sad!!!). More to come on this....it's a great story. Inspirational even.
My msn messenger has decided to stop working on my laptop. I can't log in-it tells me my password is wrong AND then it tells me that my account is locked from trying too many times. BUT when I log onto my home computer---logs in just fine. Silly MSN.
I'm off to dinner with the girls and then we're having a Games Night. Fun!!

How To Make An Omelette-An Easy Recipe!

A great easy omelet(te) recipe!

Get whatever ingredients you have in grandma's house....I suspect this works in your own home-we've just never done this at home. It's like pancakes--my son never eats them except in this house, with this lady:
It seems that you don't need to measure anything for omelettes- just throw in a couple eggs (or three if you are a bottomless pit of a teenager), add some milk, salt and pepper and then the rest are optional: I think my teen had ham, roast beef (both from Presents Day dinner), onion, maybe some peppers, and garlic maybe? He tends to use onions and garlic together like they are salt and pepper...

Insert all ingredients into a plastic baggie (seriously).

Fill a pan with water and set to boil.


Mix ingredients in bag.
Hold up for mom to take yet another picture for her silly blog that no one reads.

Place baggies in boiling water for 12 minutes. Or is it three....hmmm...maybe just cook them until the mixture is solid.
(disclaimer: I don't eat eggs plain so I don't actually take part much in the making of them)


And then open the baggie, dump the contents on a plate and enjoy!!!

Just Wait...

Too busy to write....but here's a picture I took from one of the many times I was sitting and waiting for my son to be done with something, like a class or a sporting event or a lesson.
I should have been keeping track of all the time I have waited as a parent so I could pass on this valuable piece of info to future mothers-to-be. It's one of those things that people don't warn you about....the loss of your time in a very nonproductive way.

I usually use my waiting time to catch up on phone calls (I typically don't like talking on the phone), or cleaning my car, or reading--lots and lots of reading has been done while just sitting and waiting...


Walmart Lawsuits Live On

I knew these guys were up to no good...


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced on Dec. 23, 2008, the settlement of 63 wage and hour lawsuits. The company estimated that the settlement would cost at least $352 million, but no more than $640 million, depending on the amount of claims that are submitted by class members.
Many lawsuits, some of which were certified as class actions, involved claims that Wal-Mart failed to pay hourly employees for off-the-clock work and overtime, and that it violated state wage and hour laws by preventing employees from taking or completing their rest breaks.
On Dec. 9, 2008, Wal-Mart announced a separate settlement in Minnesota, resolving approximately 100,000 current and former Wal-Mart Stores and Sam's Club employees' claims of off-the-clock work and unlawfully missed breaks for $54.2 million.


There's actually a website out there that lists 99 verdicts against Walmart. I love it - this kind of thing fascinates me and not just because I'm against the Walmart corporation.

Of the 99--there are some that are absolutely ridiculous, like:

Woman Suffers Neck, Face and Arm Injuries After Display of Pickles Collapses on Her — $465,000 Tennessee Award

Plaintiff, age 56, suffered cervical spondylosis with superimposed strain, bruises of the neck, face and arm, and depression after a display of pickles collapsed on her. Plaintiff claimed a 20 percent whole-body impairment. Plaintiff asserted that Wal-Mart constructed and supervised the display negligently. Plaintiff relied on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Wal-Mart claimed that plaintiff was responsible for her injuries and that she was exaggerating them.

The jury awarded plaintiff $415,000. It also awarded plaintiff's husband $215,000 for loss of consortium, but the trial judge reduced the award to $50,000.

Cox v. Wal-Mart, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No. 91-CV-283. Robert D. Arnold, Knoxville, TN for plaintiff. Gene Gaby, Greeneville, TN for Wal-Mart.

(I never liked pickles)


but there are also some that are really sad, like:

Pharmacy Misfills Thyroid Prescription Five Times — $200,000 Alabama Award Affirmed

Plaintiffs sued Wal-Mart after the store’s pharmacist misfilled their thyroid medicine prescriptions several times. Three other persons claimed that the pharmacist misfilled their prescriptions. An award of $10,000 compensatory and $190,000 punitive damages was affirmed on appeal.

Wal-Mart v. Glinda Gay Robbins, 719 So.2d 245 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998). H.E. Nix, Jr. and David P. Stevens, Montgomery, AL for Wal-Mart.


There are websites galore about Walmart....some for females only...general ones about the full assault that Walmart places on communities...and some that just want to ever so sweetly convince Walmart to change...

Speaking of Ever So Sweet, have you heard this song yet?


Ever So Sweet by The Early November

The lyrics are cute, here's the best part:

Ever so sweet
you baked it in cakes for me.
What you left behind,
it hurts my teeth.
Bring in the past
with the postcards you sent for me.
Every line,
it brings me right back down.

**and you can't buy this cd at Walmart.

But you can listen to more by this band, here.

Turn Off Your TV

I woke up really early this morning..I hate it when that happens. I don't typically need more than 6 or 7 hours sleep, but sometimes getting more is a GREAT thing. Last night I tried to go to sleep a little early. I was in a warm comfy bed with my kitty at my feet and the radio softly playing in the background and drifting off to sleep by 11:00pm.
Perfect.

But then I woke up at 5:15 or so. Ugh.
I hate that.

I used the loo and then crawled back in my nice warm bed and tried to pretend that I wasn't feeling desperate to get back to sleep immediately. And that is never conducive to sleeping.

I had NPR on in the background and they were talking about this stupid TV conversion crap thing silliness that is going on. I just can't believe we've been talking about this HUGE deal for the last 18 months or so. The reporter said that the cable companies have spent in the millions on advertising this. Seriously---millions. Over losing the ability to easily use the metal bunny ears to get a few basic cable channels??

For those who don't know (because they must not live in the US or don't watch tv):
One big potential pitfall is that many people who think they are prepared for the analog shutoff could lose some channels — or possibly even lose reception entirely — unless they purchase a new antenna.
Yeah--you can't have an older tv and just plug it into the wall anymore and expect to get the 3 or 4 channels you get now without having to subscribe to a cable service. Seriously..this is a HUGE issue apparently.

It's all about the Benjamin's:
The FCC is investing roughly $10 million in in-house and outsourced call center operations and has said it expects to be able to handle 2.15 million calls during the week of Feb. 15.
$10 million dollars???

AND...that's not ALL!!!
The FCC also has awarded $8.4 million to 12 outside groups, including AARP, to staff call centers and help consumers buy and install converter boxes.
Here's the story that was on NPR today.
It's pretty insane how much coverage this has gotten. I understand that it's most likely the poor who will lose their tv's.....but ugh, can't we invest this money into some kind of funding to help the poor not BE poor---and then just do a mass mailing to every house in the world and let them know how to get their free cable back? That seems like a better use of funds.

And Obama's people have asked the cable companies to push the HUGE changeover back some so that they can help more people be prepared. You would think we are preparing for a natural disaster or something...it's just gotten so much attention. It's almost as if more planning was put into this than a real disaster..like, say a particular war that has gone on FOREVER.

Travel Planning

I'm going to Vegas!!



I can not wait!

I have only been there once before...it was with my sociopath ex-fiance and it was an AMAZING trip. We had a great time for the three days we were there - and I think what really helped was that he WAS/is a sociopath and somehow got us into a honeymoon type suite at the Venetian. Looking online for that type of room gives me an estimated charge of $400 per night. That man did NOT have the funds for this, but he somehow seemed to get everything worked out in his favor. I'm sure he told them some huge lie, like I'm dying or he's going to propose to me or we were some kind of celebrity. At the time, I didn't know he was a sociopath, but I also don't think I would have cared that he was scamming the hotel because, seriously---there's nothing like having a luxury suite.

Complete psycho.

Anyway....this time I'm going a more traditional way. The kind where you actually pay for your room in a legitimate fashion. However, I do want the best deal and I'm holding out for a magic number (which is LOW). If anyone knows of a super-secret way to get more room for your buck, please email me!!

Amy and I are sharing a room so the cost will be much less anyway, but we are trying to go big for a little price. I have found the Cirque du Soleil tickets for half price and possibly the same for Blue Man Group, one of which I want to see. The airline tickets seem to be a pretty standard price for me to fly there, so the hotel seems to be the last thing I can try and get a deal on....

Aside from a small period of time when I was alone in Korea, this will be my first real vacation without the kid.
EVER.

EVER!!!

Well, there was one time that I went to visit a friend in another state for a few days, but the kid was gone and I barely spent any money and don't really think of it as a "vacation."

So this is my FIRST vacation alone in sixteen years!!!

SIXTEEN YEARS!!!!
I hope I won't miss him too much! (Ha!)

Book of the Week

I wanted to take on the 100-book challenge, but I'm chicken. I'm certain that every year for the last 5 years I read at least 150 books---but only because I read the bus 40 minutes each day to get to and from work. This year though, no such situation. I now work about a 10-minute drive to get to and from work (and it's not feasible to ride the bus).
I think one book a week is more my speed.

And this is last week's book:
Without a Backward Glance by Kate Veitch

I would definitely recommend it - It's an easy read.
I'm sure all mothers have wondered what it would be like to just walk away from the family, right? RIGHT???? Raising kids is hard. Being married is hard. Being married with kids is H.A.R.D. And I think it's natural to wonder "what would have been" at any time in our life. What would life be if I hadn't done this or that...how different would my life be if I had done this instead of that, etc.

Well this book is about a mom of four children who actually followed through with just walking away from the family, as told through the voices of the children. An interesting story.

Kate Veitch is a good writer - I think switching between voices is very difficult for a writer but she did it smoothly, the transitions worked and the voices came through so you weren't questioning who you was "speaking."

And now on to the next book......
Woohoo---I'm going to Vegas!!!!!!!!

Volunteer for the Kids

I was searching for the key words: Kaylen Volunteering

And up pops this site: kaylenfoundation.org and I'm intrigued—I have a foundation with MY name?? I MUST volunteer there.

So I go to the story about the founder: baby Kaylen


And it's a sad tale about a baby who died…and her name was….Kaylen Marie!!

Um, that's MY NAME!!!


I must do something to provide a little support to this organization.


They have a partnership with a local spa to provide a day away for families who are in extended stays at the hospital with their sick child. What a GREAT idea. And they have a limo service that provides transportation.


It always kills me when I think of how horrifying it must be for a parent to have a child who is dying from some horrible illness, or just chronically ill and it seems like you are just standing by helpless and miserable, unable to help your baby-and then on top of that, your entire world is really on hold and you no longer take care of anything but your basic needs. The idea of sending a mom in this situation to a nice two-hour break at a local spa is awesome.


Every Easter, we host a dinner for the families staying at the local Ronald McDonald House. Every Easter, I get a little taste of what it would be like if my child wasn't healthy and robust (and eating 5 meals a day and outgrowing his shoes every 4 months). It's very touching to be in the RM house – you see first-hand how devastating an illness can be. One of the stories that lingers most with me was the woman from Alaska whose child was in the hospital. She had a great connection with my teen Andrew – they had a good report from the very start, joking around together and such. She fed him copious amounts of sugar and kept insisting that I should treasure every minute with him always. We try to be very unobtrusive to the families who are staying at the house – we talk to them if they make a move to interact with us, but otherwise, we are really there to just provide a nice easter dinner that they might normally would have had at home with their family if they weren't spending weeks at a time in the hospital with their sick child. We give them a small chance to step away from their tragedy to eat a very nice, well-balanced, home-cooked meal and just have a nice dinner with any visiting family members.


So our Alaska friend: She was in and out of the room for the full four hours we were there. She was VERY friendly and talked to everyone, but kept gravitating towards Andrew. We never had introductions or anything – we just kept on making dinner and chit-chatting. She ate dinner with us and towards the end of our time there, I asked her if we could get a picture with her. As she was joking around with Andrew and getting ready for the picture, she said to me "your son is such a joy-he reminds me so much of Andrew" and then you could hear crickets….


and my son looked at me and I looked at him and she looked at us….and then she said, "I had a son who died who would have been this same age (15) and his name was Andrew."


More crickets.


And then Andrew said, "my name is Andrew."


And then it was her turn to say nothing….and then she was on the edge of tears.


She was at the house because her young child was in the hospital...but she unfortunately had been to the same place a few years prior, when her oldest son had a life-threatening illness that actually took his life. And his name was Andrew. And he would have been the same age as my Andrew.


Very surreal…


The Ronald McDonald House is such a great place. One of the most touching stories I heard was how achild in Eastern Oregon was involved in an accident of some kind (no details on that). The police arrived at the mothers house and told her that lifeflight (a medical helicopter) was on its way to pick up the child at the scene and she needed to get there NOW in order to ride with her child to the largest hospital, about five hours away, where doctors were already on standby for the child. The mother rushed out of the house in her shorts and a t-shirt. No shoes, no purse-nothing—just ran to the car and off they went. Her child was sent straight to surgery and then it was planned that there would be an extended hospital stay directly after. Someone at the hospital apparently looks out for these situations and the mom was given a place to stay at the RMH. Once at the house, they gave her some clothes and shoes, a meal (her first in 24 hours) and set her up for a two week stay (her child ended up recovering well). She has no family or friends nearby, she was all alone in a strange place with a child who was on deaths door and she doesn't even have shoes....what a horrible situation.


It's just heart-warming to know that there are people out there who care.


The Ronald McDonald house gets donations from various places and groups of people. Groups come in almost nightly to make meals for the families (alleviating the pressure of having your child in the hospital AND having to figure out meals for the rest ofthe family every night). Kits are made to help keep any siblings occupied and sane. It's just wonderful.


Pics from my Ronald McDonald House easter dinner in the past:

The volunteer group 2006

Volunteer Group 2007


and...2008 group shot (oops--can't find it right now....)

Things That Make Me Sad Today



  • John Travolta's son dying.

  • The number of animals with no homes.

  • Religion in general.

  • My friend in the army told me that they have spent $300 trillion in the last year, just in his office alone.

  • The price of really great hotels in Las Vegas.

  • Aging.

  • Rising gas prices.

  • Windows that drip condensation that I have to clean up before the stupid cat jumps into it.
  • The trouble with Gaza (I don't fully comprehend what is going on, but it is clearly a complete disaster).

  • Intolerance by humans.

  • The lack of good male role models in my culture.

Pretend to Read This

"It's nice to pretend to be important; but it's more important to pretend to be nice."
~ Dale Carnegie, 1937

At some point, don't you just stop pretending and realize that you actually ARE what you were pretending to be?

For instance, when I was younger, I would pretend to be asleep (for my parents sake) and then ...I would just be asleep for real!

Or perhaps a better example: let's say there is someone I just did not get along with..our personalities just didn't mesh well but to keep the peace in the group I was with, I pretended to be having fun with that person...and somehow, my pretending to enjoy myself with the person who I thought was a *bit* obnoxious-wasn't so bad and I actually found I was actually enjoying myself!! A different type of enjoying myself...but it wasn't bad!!

And how about when you're at an event with your spouse and you pretend to be having a good time so that they can have a good time without worrying about you...and then eventually you have fun knowing that they are having fun.

Pretending to be something you are not is sometimes necessary - it's reality.

Kissing ass at work is pretending and sometimes necessary - and let's not pretend it's not!

There's something to be said about being true to yourself and who you really are, but there's also something to be said about being considerate, appropriate, and tolerant. How freeing would it be to never censor words, never pretend to think something is funny, never to have to pretend to want to do something...I like to think that I'm pretty real, but am I? sometimes I wonder.

How many times do we pretend something someone says doesn't bother us? Most especially when with family...it's easier just to keep the peace and pretend it doesn't bother you...sad, but necessary sometimes. Learning when to bite your tongue and just smile is a much-needed skill....and I wonder when we learn this? And when does it become the way you actually are....like if I pretend to enjoy watching football with a man, I think I actually do end up enjoying watching football-it would be something to share with him...however, from past experience, I do enjoy watching it with someone who likes it-but now that they are not here, I don't watch it.

Craigslist Know-It-Alls

I put an advertisement on Craigslist to sell a brand new, still in the box, cell phone from Verizon. These are expensive, as buying them without a contract will force you to buy them at a HUGE price. If you have ever broken your phone and had to buy a new one mid-contract, you know what I'm talking about...Verizon does not play nice sometimes.

I put the phone online for sale for the price I paid for it - I wasn't trying to make a huge profit on it, I just wanted my money back from it. I think I could have gotten more by putting it on ebay, but it's not as convenient as selling locally. AND I feel the pain of someone trying to get a phone without getting screwed by Verizon.

SO -

I place the ad and give very good details on how NEW and wonderful the phone is and how I just want the base price of $200.00.

I had about 5 responses within a few days. This was one:
On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 12:44 PM, DANIEL wrote:


will you take 125.00 for the phone?


I responded:

Have you seen these on Ebay? $125.00 is a great price for a used phone-which
this is not. I haven't seen a lot of brand new phones, still in the box-never even used, going for under $200.00, so I'll have to pass on your offer. Happy Holidays!

Daniel replied with:

well if you ever want to sell let me know

wow...really, Daniel?....cause you are the only possible buyer for my phone? And this is the only possible price I will get? Really?

Sorry Daniel...you are W.R.O.N.G.


I met a very nice man on Wednesday after work who handed me $200.00 cash and gave me a very nice hug and a holiday wish.

People like Daniel are just sad - I think he probably was a bully in middle school. Maybe high school as well. He probably makes lewd jokes at the dinner table and people groan when they see him headed their way at a party.

Is this judgemental of me?

I really just like making up stories about people I don't know. Is that wrong?


If I met him in real life, I would probably laugh with him and tell him EXACTLY what I thought of his email, so it's not like I'm being malicious...I'd love to have a good chuckle with him. Maybe I should email him back and let him know that. He might want to make a new friend anyway (since he was a bully to all the other people in his life).

Everybody Else is Doing It....

and so I must....I have a plan for 2009.

Not New Years Resolutions - cause those are not a plan-those are a wish list. And wish lists get thrown to the side.

But "plans" are looked at and considered and thought about and followed.

I love plans.

So ...drum roll please....here is my Plan for 2009:

  1. Volunteer more. I can do it!! 3 hours a month is what I spend on my regular monthly event, but that's just ONE part of ONE afternoon!! There is so much that needs to be done--and I have the time to do more. I'm hoping to do 10 hours a month every month. Or how about we say 120 hours for the year, and that way if I am low on one month, I can make up for it in another. Yep. There ya go then..120 volunteer hours for 2009.
  2. Cook more. I have the same types of foods I like to cook and I just rotate them throughout the month. I want more variety. I want to branch out more. Feel free to send recipes. Keep in mind that I like simple and basic recipes. And I don't eat pork or beef, but it would be great to have some simple basics of those types so I can branch out with the teen. So we're really talking chicken as the main staple. I should learn to cook tofu too...but mostly chicken recipes. Go ahead--email here!
  3. Lose weight. Who doesn't say this? All females everywhere do. But I mean it!! AND I have a treadmill next to my television, so I'm going to do it.
  4. Purchase a house. This is a huge fear of mine and I must conquer it. I just have this huge fear that I'll get into a house and something drastic will go wrong (loss of job or medical emergency) and then I'll lose all that I've invested, on top of the pain and anguish of losing it. I have a wonderful mortgage broker friend (hi Tim!) and he's been telling me for years that I need to do this. I think 2009 is the year. And, of course, the kid wishes he had a bigger space to romp around in with his friends.
  5. Improve my Spanish skills. I have wanted to work on this for ages, and there's no reason to hold back. If anyone wants to participate in a fun email exchange of various spanish words and teach each other phrases or some such activity, let me know! Everyone should know a little of it at least - it's very commonly spoken, whether you approve of it or not...and it's nice to be able to communicate with people around you.
  6. Rebuild relationships. I have so few friends from college, high school and even earlier---and I think it's mostly because I let things get in the way of staying in touch. Things like not taking the time to call someone and spend 20 minutes catching up. Or emailing on my lunch break. Or getting together when I'm in their city. I need to change this. I have met a LOT of people in my days and there's no reason I can't stay in better touch.
  7. Develop my work skills. I loooooooooooove my new job. I want to learn as much as I can and grow more skills. For three years, I was VERY stagnant in a position where I did so very little and there was no room or encouragement to grow. And now I'm in a place where it is the complete opposite. You're expected to grow...and so grow I will!!! I'm excited to have the support to do so.
  8. Travel more!!! For the last 3 years, I have been just getting by - I buy what I want, I have money to go shopping, but if I just refrained from eating out a few times a month and didn't buy new clothes---I could save that money and GO somewhere. And now, I'm doing better with bills than EVER, so I really have no reason not to. I've also been somewhat stuck in the attitude of "once Andrew is grown, I'll travel more" but I think I need to change that. My life shouldn't be on hold. He will not mind if I take off for a few days. And I suppose I could take him with me....but maybe not...he is a teen-they are unpredictable. Even if it's just exploring the area around me, I need to be on the move more. I live very near the beach, the ocean, a gorge, a gazillion waterfalls, etc. I need to start taking advantage of my location because it really is wonderful.
Sounds great, right? All realistic. All obtainable. All will enrich my life (and in return-my blog). All are measurable and easy to track and keep myself on track. Perfect.

Day one of 2009 - done.

So far, I have worked on two goals already!!!

I walked on the treadmill for 90 minutes and I am making plans to travel (ready Amy??).
Great start on my plan!
364 days to go!

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